Where I wish I ran – my vacation in beautiful British Columbia.

I had considerable plans for running in Vancouver, BC while we were out visiting and going to our niece’s wedding. I planned to run around the neighborhood in Port Moody where we were staying since it had beautiful trails down to the water and some great hills – I love reviewing my runs on Strava when I’ve gotten some good elevation.

The main thing I was looking forward to this trip, besides of course the fantastic wedding of my lovely niece, was climbing Grouse Grind. Grouse Grind is a difficult trail 2.9kms in length with about 853m (apprxox. 2800 feet) of elevation gain going up Grouse Mountain. On average it takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to climb. Sounded like an impressive challenge.

Well, the day before we flew out, I came down with the wicked cold that my family had. I guess I couldn’t avoid it forever. So, I spent the week uncontrollably coughing on my in-laws (again – so sorry) and taking cold pills instead of running amidst the blooming trees and bushes of the neighborhood in which we stayed.


On the last day we were there I did take a gondola ride to the top of the mountain. It was fantastic. The view was incredible.


Needless to say, actually climbing “the Grind” is at the top of my list for the next time we visit BC. It was a nice change to see green trees and flowers blooming instead of the barren early spring we are still in here in Ontario.

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We got back early this morning, and after unpacking and doing many loads of laundry, I managed a slow 5k with lots of wheezing and coughing. I ran 4 of the 5 kms at well over a 6 minute per km pace, but at my 3rd km, I ran through a construction zone. A dumptruck pulled out in front of me, and when he noticed me running behind him, he pulled over so that I wouldn’t have to run in the dust he was kicking up. Unfortunately having a huge dumptruck behind me makes me a little self conscious  and I ran that km at 4:42/km.

Today’s run on Strava:

I’ve found that I always run faster when I pass construction workers and other runners….

So, do any of you out there have a weird habit like that? And where do you want to run on vacation?





Starting Over

So you may or may not have noticed that we’ve had a break in blogging throughout 2014.  While Jackie kept on running during that time, I took a loooong break from running.  The reason being that, this fall, my husband and I welcomed our first baby girl into the world. Yay!


During my pregnancy, I had planned to keep running and I thought I’d be able to jump right back into it when my baby arrived.  I definitely underestimated how pregnancy would affect my body and how tough it can be to adjust to a new baby. One icy cold winter + morning sickness + fall-asleep-the-moment-you-sit-down tiredness + cankles to end all cankles + a new little baby + ANOTHER icy cold winter = 15 months off from running.  It wasn’t my plan, but here I am.

(I would really love to insert a picture of my pregnancy ankles here, but they were ghastly.  I’ll spare you.)

Now that spring is here and we are getting some beautiful weather, I’m ready to get back into it.  By “back into it”, I mean start over completely from the beginning.  Starting over is tough!  I’m hoping to run a 5k race in May, so I decided to try a Couch-to-5k program.  I’ve done a few training runs, and it’s been interesting.

In some ways, I feel like I did when I was first started running.  I’m out of shape and just running for a minute at a time is an accomplishment.  I feel like I’m trudging along.  When I first started running, I felt embarrassed to run where people might see me, and I felt a tinge of that again.  In other ways, I feel even worse.  It’s hard not to compare yourself to where you were before: how fast you could run, how far you could go, and how you felt doing it.  And with less time than before, it’s hard to make time for yourself to get out there.  On Wednesday, I went for my first run with my daughter in our jogging stroller.  I couldn’t even finish my last running interval.  My lungs were burning and my calves were stinging.  About half way through I was thinking, “You know, you really don’t HAVE to start running again.”

As difficult as it was, I loved it at the same time.  I didn’t love it while it was happening, but when it was over, I definitely felt accomplished.  I had that great feeling in my lungs where they feel worked and cleaned out.  It’s exciting to think that in the next few months, I’ll get to experience the joy of reaching certain milestones over again.  Probably best of all, I have a new running partner to keep me motivated.  She doesn’t have much to say, but she loves to be out in the fresh air with me and I love getting out with her.




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A Running Partner upgrade – A new Garmin 220‏! Guest post

I have had a number of Garmin GPS watches and consider them an essential part of my training. Knowing where I’ve been, how far I went and what speed and elevation I achieved gives me a great sense of accomplishment. It also pushes me to go further, faster and do more hills than I ever would have without it.

Currently I am using my fourth model the forerunner 220. I have also had the forerunner 110, 205, and 210 models each of which worked very well. I feel like none of them really compare to the ease of use, looks and lightness of the new 220 model though.


The 210 was my previous model and it weighed in at 52 grams whereas the 220 weighs only 40.7 grams… “Big deal,” you may say. “A difference of only 11.3 grams is hardly noticeable.” If you are a distance runner though think of it this way, when you are 20 km’s into your long run and you go from an asphalt surface to a concrete surface the difference is huge!! The same can be said about the weight of these two watches, I notice an incredible difference. Just the way the watch sits on your wrist and the flexibility of the band is a huge improvement as well.

I like the fact that the touch bezel is gone as well. For every action you want do, a button must be pressed so you are less likely to switch screens or have some other mishap.

Many of the other functions are very similar to previous Forerunners. Navigating the screens I found to be very easy.  In fact, from getting it out of the box, setting it up and being ready to go for my first run, it only took about 10 minutes.  My favorite improvement is the Bluetooth connectivity. Once you download the Garmin connect app to your phone you get some very cool new abilities.  For example, when using it for the first time on a long run (with Jackie), we returned to the house to recover, she went over to her computer to upload her run and see the results on Strava only to find mine already there! (note from Jackie: Like I wasn’t already jealous enough…) When you get close to your phone it automatically uploads it! That is the coolest feature, I was able to start looking at different parts of my run immediately, even without access to a computer.

I also like the addition of the accelerometer which calculates your cadence and can track distance when GPS is unavailable. Another improvement that I like is the addition of vibration alert. Normally I run listening to music and I had a difficult time hearing the tones or alerts from the watch. Now I don’t have to hear it.  I can feel it.

If you are a new runner or someone who has been doing it for a while if you don’t have a GPS watch I would highly recommend it especially the Forerunner 220. Overall, I am extremely satisfied with it. Do I rely on it too much? Probably…. Is that going to change? Never!



Tyler and his old Garmin (and his wife)

The Outrunningblog Crew love their Garmins!

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Around the Bay 30k race recap

Great shirt this year.

Here’s a quick recap of my Around the Bay 30k. This was my 3rd year in a row doing this race, and I highly recommend it – one of my favorites.

We had a beautiful day again this year. Blue skies, sun and a cool but pleasant temperature. The wind picked up throughout the race, but it didn’t bother me until the last 4k when we seemed to be running right into it.

Gawking at my friends and losing my pace bunny...

Me in blue – gawking at my friends and losing my pace bunny…

It was an interesting race for me. I hadn’t trained enough because of the cold winter, I only got up to 23k in training, and I’ve been running slower than I have in years. I had a goal of 3 hours when I signed up and I had adjusted it to 3:10 for the race. I had planned to run with the 3 hour bunny as long as I could and then just do my best after I couldn’t keep up.

Well, right off the bat I lost the 3 hour bunny. I was busy gawking at the side looking for my husband and friends as I started, and I realized a few minutes in that I couldn’t find the bunny (that had been just beside me at the start) anywhere. My Garmin had also shut off just before the start and it took me a couple of minutes to get it going so I had no idea exactly where I was timewise. I spent the first few kms trying to catch up to the pace bunny in front, only to find out that it was the 2:55 pace bunny.

Anyway, long story short, I decided to just do whatever felt good. And I think the fact that I was staying ahead of my pace bunny and not letting him catch me, instead of feeling like I was struggling to keep up to him, made me feel more confident and like I could really get a good time. When I passed the 10k I was just under 59 minutes. For the next 10k I took advantage of the flatness and hit 20k at around 1:57.

It was at 20k that some crazy spectator was yelling out “You’re almost there”. I turned to a lady in pink beside me and we joked about it (that’s not even close to almost there – but smiling does make you feel better when you’re running). I was feeling good about being in the last 3rd of the race until I hit 23k and I hit my wall – hard. At first I got a little down, but then I decided on mind over matter. I told myself that it was just my wall and I’d get past it. I allowed myself an extra walking break and took some more fuel and then told myself, “it’s a race – it’s supposed to hurt”, and got on my way. I was really tired for the last 5k and had to talk my way through it. At 28k, I stopped for a Gatorade at the last water station and I was feeling completely out of gas, then I noticed my pink lady from 20k run by and I decided she was going to help me in. I caught up to her and she said “I met you at 20k right? NOW we are almost there!” That was what I needed and I just stayed with her til the end of the race.

Chip time: 2:57:57. A personal best – and a new sense of what I can accomplish.

I had read this article before my race and used the tips in it throughout the race – I think it helped. :)

Mile Posts: 5 Tips To Help Running Feel Easier Read more at


Jackie” target=”_blank”>My run on Strava

A new pair of shoes and The Around the Bay 30k

I signed up for this race once again this year, during the winter, to inspire me to keep running. However, I didn’t anticipate the crazy cold we’d have here in Southern Ontario.

So many days of -18C and colder weather plus the wind chill made it difficult for (wussy) me to keep my mileage up through January and February. So, with the Around the Bay 30k road race coming up this Sunday, I find myself a little ill-prepared. I have only gotten up to 23k and I’m considerably slower than last year(and a few pounds heavier). I think my goal of a sub 3 hour race will need to be adjusted to about a 3:15 race(I hope!).


I noticed on my last 2 runs that my feet and toes were so sore in the two pairs of shoes I wore. I’m hoping that this is mainly to do with the winter mileage I put on them. Perfect timing – last weekend I got an email that my Mizunos were on sale $59.00 off (yay) so a brand new pair of glowing white Mizuno Wave Inspire 10s came in the mail yesterday. I took them out for a short breaking in run this morning that took the edge off the white and now I’m resting my old lady legs until Sundays’ race.


A good thing to come out of not being prepared, is that a runner friend of mine who is also doing the race invited me to a Running Room run club run that she has been going to every Sunday morning. They were doing a 23k long slow run this week, with the run 10 min, walk 1 min system that I favor for long runs. Well, I was a little nervous, but I was so glad I went. I enjoyed having people to run and talk with. I enjoyed the new route and all the conversation made me feel like I wasn’t doing the longest run I’d done in a year. I also peed in the forest for the first time ever on a run. A big day of firsts! :D

So my last hurdle is to make it until Sunday without getting sick. Of course because I have a big race coming up, the whole family, all three boys and my husband, get sick with a really bad cold/sore throat/sinus infection sickness that has left them all fevery and bed ridden. I’m doing my best to care for everyone and not breath around them at the same time. It seems all this running and fresh air is serving as a natural anti-biotic!

To anyone else out there doing The Around the Bay. Have a great race! Question: How do you feel about the detour? Are you going to miss Heartbreak Hill?



Delicious home made heritage bread that ANYONE can make.

I have always wanted to make my own bread. Over the years I’ve tried many times to bake bread with less than stellar results. I came across a couple of recipes lately for heritage bread that you let rise for anywhere from 12 – 18 hours and I decided to give it a try. Well, I’ve baked several loaves now and they are wonderful. I haven’t screwed it up yet. :) Since I’ve caught a bad cold/flu and can’t run, baking some comfort food is filling the void.


I have adjusted the recipes I’ve found a bit to get the size of loaf I like, but I got the original idea from Chef Michael Smith’s Heritage bread. He uses oatmeal and some multigrain flour and it worked out nicely.  We eat slice after slice of this warm out of the oven and then make sandwiches and toast with it. My next experiment is going to be with rye bread.


heaping 1/2 tsp of yeast
2 1/2 tsp salt
2 2/3 C water
6 cups of Flour

Mix together with a bread dough hook in a mixer or mix by hand until formed into a ball. No kneading required. Place in a large mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave on the counter to rise for 18 hours. The dough should at least double in size and will look a bit bubbly.

On a lightly floured surface punch the dough down and fold it over on itself until a nice ball is formed. Lightly flour the mixing bowl and place the dough back into the bowl and cover it with the plastic wrap. Allow to rise for about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place a lightly greased cast iron pot in the oven to preheat for 20 minutes. When the pot is ready, gently dump the dough into the cast iron pot, cover and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 5 – 10 minutes until the bread is nicely browned to your liking.


The cast iron pot gives the bread a nice crust, but you can use a loaf pan or baking sheet if you don’t have the cast iron pot.

Delicious – perfect for carb-loading. ;) Now go for a run!



– Jackie –